Ian Kilbride has been a leading figure in the business of asset management for over 30 years. He established the industry standard in private client wealth management ,through the initial development of Appleton Asset and Trust Management and over later years through the growth of numerous asset managers in several jurisdictions including South Africa. He has also been at the centre of the development of wealth management via Warwick Wealth a company formed in 2002.
In celebration of the founding of South Africa’s democracy, in 1994 and also in memory of his late sister Louise, Kilbride established the Spirit Foundation, which, in turn, has established three other related charitable foundations, namely: The Spirit Education Foundation (SEF), the Spirit Wildlife Foundation (SWF) and the Spirit Community Foundation (SCF).
Born into a working-class background in the UK, Ian excelled at Appleton Grammar School achieving 10 ‘O’ levels and four ‘A’ levels, leading him to win a place in 1981 to read law at Warwick University, one of England’s leading universities and a member of Russel Group of UK universities, Warwick is renowned for its Law School and for delivering the UK’s leading MBA course. Graduating with an honour’s degree in Law, Ian entered the world of private client financial services in 1984 and later stock broking from 1987.
With the unbanning of South African political organisations in 1990 and with Ian’s growing passion for animal welfare, he made the life-changing decision to leave the UK and embark on a journey that would see him literally drive out of London, across Europe and then across the full length of Africa. This experience changed Ian in many ways and it allowed him to see first-hand the rich social and political tapestry of the African continent and its people. This exposure to the poverty and potential of the African continent further re-enforced in him the foundational importance of education to human and community development.
Ian’s journey though Africa also allowed him to witness first-hand the majesty of the continent’s rich and uniquely diverse wildlife, while also observing how threatened this is from human and urban expansion, together with the predatory behaviour of poaching.
Arriving in the Mother City of Cape Town in July 1990, and applying his renowned work ethic, Ian quickly established himself in South Africa, forming new and exciting companies that trained and promoted young talent. Over the years to follow he become an approved director and asset manager in five regulated jurisdictions, namely: United Kingdom, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Mauritius and South Africa. As a financial entrepreneur and builder of businesses, since 1990 Ian has been the CEO and or director of listed companies on both the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). In each case, his family became material shareholders in those entities.
With a strong belief in continual personal and professional development, Ian became a member of the South African Investment Analysts Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and a member of the Financial Planning Institute. He has served on the Legal and Compliance Committee of the Fund Managers Association of South Africa (FMASA), being one of the association’s founding members in 1995. FMASA has developed over the years into what is now the Association for Savings and Investment in South Africa (ASISA). He has also served as a Commissioner of Oaths in South Africa for the last twenty years.
While working to build an impressive portfolio of financial and fiduciary services businesses, philanthropy is still a key intrinsic part of Ian’s personae. Imbued with the African spirit of ‘Ubuntu’ (I am because you are; you are because we are), Ian continues to invest his time and energy in growing and developing the Spirit Foundation and its three siblings.
Since its founding in 1994, the Spirit Education Foundation (SEF) has continued to fund the education and ancillary needs of over 125 children annually from disadvantaged backgrounds during their high-school years, namely grades 8-12. With the experience and track-record learned over more than three decades, SEF has developed a unique model that has seen literally thousands of young scholars become successful South African citizens in all walks of life, from medicine to education and engineering to teaching.
With the indelible impression of Africa’s wildlife etched in his memory, Ian subsequently established the Spirit Wildlife Foundation (SWF) with the purpose of contributing to the survival and sustainability of the continent’s iconic species. To date, the SWF has achieved success in the survival of orphaned rhino and more recently embarked on programmes that support the protection of Africa’s elephant and lion populations.
Ever mindful of his own working-class roots back in the north of England, he has also established the Spirit Community Foundation (SCF), which aims to support in an active way, programmes that impact positively on working class communities, in both South Africa and the UK. In South Africa SCF support numerous local NGO’s and charities, these include The Big Issue, Hear in Africa, League of the Friends of the Blind (LOFOB) and others. As a fifth generation Everton fanatic, Ian was also an early supporter of the EiTC (Everton in the Community) programme and the Everton Free School (EFS). The work of both EiTC and EFS has received wide recognition for its remarkable achievements in its socially and economically depressed catchment area. SCF has built a library for the community within EFS and is an active and committed supporter of the Everton Disability Teams as well as the Spirit-Everton Choir, which consistently assists those with mental health issues.
Ian’s hobbies are numerous and include many sports (although now as a spectator rather than as a participant), the collection of local art, track-day racing, historic car restoration, the study of local and international history and politics.
A strong family man, Ian has two successful young sons, Connor a graduate of Exeter University (First Class Degree in Politics Philosophy and Economics) and Liam a BA student currently attending Stellenbosch University. He also has a much loved stepson Jake who works with him in the business and a lovely stepdaughter Madison who is a graphic designer.
Although he travels extensively during the year to various parts of Africa and Europe, Cape Town remains Ian’s home, and he has no desire to live anywhere else, believing deeply and passionately as he does in South Africa’s people and its future.